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Question and Answer

Was Jesus divine?


If Presbyterians do not believe in the immaculate conception, then do they believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ or was he just one who led a holy life (i.e., a saint)?


As Presbyterians we believe the Bible, the Word of God, which is revealed in both the Old and New Testaments, is inerrant (without error) and infallible (it contains no mistakes) because it is inspired by God, who used men to write what he wanted to reveal about himself and the way of salvation. The main focus of this revelation is upon the one who came into the world to save sinners, namely Jesus Christ. All four gospels contain Jesus' own claim to be the Son of God, and therefore divine—e.g., Luke 22:70, "They all asked, 'Are you then the Son of God?' He replied, 'You are right in saying I am.'" Jesus himself claimed to be divine, fully God as well as fully man. Therefore, as Presbyterians, we believe his testimony and therefore in his divinity.

One more matter needs to be mentioned. You seem to equate or confuse the Immaculate Conception of Mary with the Virgin Birth. It can be confusing but you need to know that, as Presbyterians, we reject the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. The Bible nowhere teaches that Mary was without sin, which, as a former Catholic, I know is Roman Catholic teaching, official doctrine of that church. Rather, if you read the Magnificat in Luke 2 you will see that she called God her Savior—thus admitting she needed to be saved from her sin.

The doctrine of the Virgin Birth is the biblical doctrine that Jesus was born of Mary but conceived by the Holy Spirit—i.e., that Jesus had no human father, but rather, as the Son of God, was fathered by God the Holy Spirit.

About Q&A

"Questions and Answers" is a weekly feature of the OPC website. The answers come from individual ministers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressing their own convictions and do not necessarily represent an "official" position of the Church, especially in areas where the Standards of the Church (the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms) are silent.

The questions come from individuals like yourself. If you have questions about biblical and theological matters, you are invited to send them by e-mail by using the "Pose a Question" link on the OPC home page or by clicking here.

At least one new question is posted each week, so there should always be something new here for you to read. (For those people who would like to look at previous questions and answers, they will continue to be available as well.)

The purpose of the OPC website's "Questions and Answers" is to respond to biblical and theological questions. Matters of church discipline, disputes, or debates go beyond the scope of our work. We recommend that you present your concerns in these areas to the appropriate judicatory. In most cases this will be to a local pastor, elder, or session. We do not want the website to replace personal involvement in, or commitment to, the local, visible church.

While we will respond to every serious questioner, we are not bound to give a substantive answer to every question, should we deem the question to be beyond the scope of our purpose or our own ability to answer.

You will receive an answer by e-mail. Please be patient as many of our respondents are busy pastors. The response to your question may take up to two (2) weeks. Some of the questions submitted will be chosen to be posted here, along with the corresponding answers.

Note that the "Questions and Answers" posted on the site have been edited—all personal references are removed, Scripture references or from some source may be added, and sometimes portions are expanded—to make the questions and answers more useful to a larger audience.

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